Ravichandran Ashwin has expressed his disappointment over not being a part of the Chennai Super Kings team after KXIP bought him in the mega-auction. The off-break bowler also stated that the close competition in the India-South Africa Test series provides a good momentum ahead of England series.
After CSK decided to retain MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina ahead of the mega-auction, Ashwin’s absence had concerned many fans. Though Dhoni had assured that franchise would go all out to get their old player back at the mega-auction, the side looked unwilling to push after a certain extent and Kings XI Punjab eventually managed to pick him up for 7.6 crores.
Ashwin was undoubtedly expecting to play for his old side this season, where he was a crowd favourite playing 196 games in yellow colours, which included 121 home matches where he claimed 120 wickets.
"Obviously I was a tad disappointed. I have been here for the past 10 years. Literally, I own that space at Chepauk. The cheer that I got every time I came on to bowl, I will miss that. The auction is very unpredictable and probably if you saw this auction, people were not going all guns blazing. I am a bit disappointed that I will not be turning up for CSK," he said as quoted by PTI.
"It will feel lovely. I will again get a chance to showcase my skills in front of my home crowd. That is all that matters to me. It is a ground that has great memories. It has been part of my meteoric rise.”
Though Ashwin is widely recognized as an important weapon of master strategist MS Dhoni, the spinner has been playing under Kohli’s captaincy for long now. Ashwin has played 57 Tests for India in which 33 matches were under Kohli’s captaincy. Apart from that, Ashwin has also played 20 ODIs under the young skipper and is now well acquainted with his positive mindset and aggressive approach.
"He (Kohli) is someone who will go for a win come what may. He does not have a negative bone in his body, he always talks about a win, never about saving situations, we're always moving ahead. It is good because the players know what is required
"This is his first series overseas as a full-time captain. I am sure all the best captains in the past too have a set of home games. He (Kohli) is already on par with most of the greatest captains that have played the game. It is best that we give credit to him."
Contrary to wide expectations that the Indian team will win the Test series in South Africa to make it ten series wins in a row, India crumbled terribly in the first two Tests leaving South Africa on the brink of inflicting a whitewash. However, the visitors fought back in the last Test to pull back a win and keep their ICC Test No.1 spot intact. Ashwin felt that the side gave a good competition in overseas, which would be a boost ahead of their next tour in England.
"I feel the series was very very close and it was on the line. In fact, even at Cape Town and Centurion till the last ball was bowled we probably were in the game. Probably, Centurion a little bit earlier. I thought we played really good cricket," Ashwin said.
"On both the occasions, if we had won the toss it would have made a massive difference. As a team, we really played well in South Africa. It gives us a lot of impetus going into the England series."
BCCI’s decision to build specialist squads for each format has limited Ashwin’s appearances in ODIs and T20Is over the last two years, making things extremely competitive for him. On the pace-friendly situations of South Africa, Ashwin could play only the first two Tests where he claimed seven wickets and scored 90 runs. He is now playing for Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. However, the 31-year-old believes he played his role well in South Africa and it could have been better if not for the missed catches.
"On a personal account, I would say I batted beautifully through the first two Test matches. If I had just held myself when the second new ball was taken I could have made a massive difference. I felt a little disappointment for that. But in general that was my role in the game, I had to counter-attack and I felt that way.
"As an individual who went into that series, whatever I wanted to achieve I did achieve. Probably a few wickets lesser than I would have ideally liked. A few dropped catches, which is part of the game," he added.